Welcome to Washington

Capitol Hill close up

Not even a full week at home and I’m already dreaming of going back to Washington dc! For two, full, glorious weeks Mr F&P and I were basking in the stateside sunshine, and we only just managed to drag ourselves home last Sunday. The reason for visiting was the Boyd-Lee wedding – one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to, but I’ll blog about that later! If you’re just here for the foodie chat, head over to my Georgetown post and you can read about some of our foodie adventures there…

But for now, it’s all about downtown DC. We topped and tailed our trip with some time in Washington and as a huge, no, ENORMOUS West Wing fan, I was beyond excited to check out the White House, see Capitol Hill and soak up the history.

We decided to have a Monuments Day and try and see as many of the greats as possible in one go. This was A LOT of walking, but totally worth it. I knew my first port of call had to be to The White House – I didn’t realise it was so close to everyday life in DC. From our apartment we were able to walk straight down 16th Street, one minute we were crossing the road and the next thing I knew the most iconic building emerged before us. Of course it was mobbed with tourists, but we managed to get a few good shots. You’ll notice the weather improved as our day went on, but looking back I am grateful for the morning cloud cover. There’s nothing nice about red, burnt tourist shoulders!

Walking down 16th Street
Strolling down 16th Street
White House first glimpse
A rather stormy looking sky as we catch our first glimpse of the White House
TAH DAAAAH!
TAH DAAAAH!

Numerous White House selfies later (on my part, Mr F&P played it much cooler), we moved on to see Lincoln, and stood on the very step Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech from – quite an incredible feeling. We had spotted the Lincoln monument as we were driving into DC and the sheer size of the columns and steps even from the road was incredible, never mind up close.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln up close

Lincoln collumns

The view looking out over the National Mall to the Washington Monument was breathtaking. Click on the panoramic pic to see in full size!

View from Lincoln to Washington

Panoramic view

I was going to say that we wandered through the rest of the national mall, but it was more of a decisive stride, knowing we had a lot to get around. From Lincoln we passed through the gardens of the National Mall and saw the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, then Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, followed by a walk around Tidal Basin to see the FDR and Jefferson Memorial, and we stopped for a breather at the Washington Monument.

Vietnam War Memorial

names on wall

The forgotten war

Korean war pool

And over to Martin Luther King Junior. The memorial structure is a direct reference to the line “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” from his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

From there we wandered through FDR’s impressive memorial space, and the sun decided to join us for this part of the walk too.

FDR

FDR and dog

And how you could not want a picture with FDR’s Scottish terrier Fala!

Fala

Then on to our last stop before lunch, walking round Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial building.

Jefferson

View of Jefferson from tidal basin

A spot of lunch at the sculpture garden in the National Gallery of Art and we were re-energised and ready to take on Capitol Hill. I have no doubt the sunshine made this impressive building look even more awesome, and it certainly helped my photography skills.

A spot of lunch in the Sculpture Gardens at the National Gallery
Lunch with a view – Sculpture Gardens at the National Gallery of Art

Sculpture garden

And now for the fancy, sunshine filled photos….

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill panoramic

Capitol Hill close up

Isn’t it stunning? Unfortunately we weren’t able to get inside and have a look around, but we stood in awe outside for quite some time and soaked up some of the rays.

There are still plenty buildings and museums I’ve not mentioned to be seen around the National Mall as we didn’t cover all of it. I’d advise leaving yourself two if not three days if you really want to visit all the Smithsonian buildings and really make the most of that part of the city. Entry to the museums is free which unfortunately means a lot of queuing, and a lot of coach and school trips. However we did visit the International Spy Museum which wasn’t free, but a must visit for Bond fans.

After our intense day of history we spent the rest of the week hanging out with friends and visiting other areas such as Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Old Town Alexandria, so stay tuned for more stateside ramblings.

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